Serendipity in Los Angeles

What is serendipity?  It is a fortunate and unexpected discovery, especially when you were actually looking for something else.  You know, driving down a country lane looking for a fruit stand and you come across a hideaway restaurant and enjoy a most delicious and unexpected meal.    Serendipity is also the name of a new and exclusive networking group in Los Angeles — perfect for the times, by invitation-only and a view to chance discoveries and connections between the networkers.  A little bit of Chamber of Commerce, mixed in with a little red velvet rope and a touch of “for members only”. 

I was invited, the other night, to my first event and was pleasantly surprised by the diverse group of entrepreneurs, investors and innovators.  Because my business consulting focuses on helping companies develop an online identity (where usually they just have a business card type website), lead acquisition and retention, and good old business operations management,  I was very interested in exploring the networkers who were there.    It was a lot of fun with some possible good connections, but there were two people there who caught my attention, either by their business knowledge, or their gumption, so I thought I’d share!

I had an interesting chat with Becky Rhodes, a mortgage broker, specializing in first-time buyers and learned something I didn’t know (and apparently a lot of people don’t know this either!)  Most of us know that there is a hefty first-time buyer tax break (to the tune of $8K) now available, but what I didn’t know is the definition of the “first-time buyer”.  So I asked Becky to send me some info that I could pass along. 

The First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit represents a huge opportunity for renters to transform their financial life, and join the middle class pathway to a comfortable retirement.  A lot of people are counting themselves out before really understanding the availability and potential of this credit.  The federal tax credit is available to those buyers who have not owned or paid a mortgage on their primary residence in the past 3 years.  So people who WERE homeowners, but now are not (lost the home to a divorce or prior hardship, etc.) are still eligible to enjoy this benefit if they fit within the 3-year definition.  This federal tax benefit expires at the end of this year (December 1, 2009).  This is an unprecedented opportunity for renters to change their financial life:  historical low interest rates, property values at more than 5-year lows, and the $8,000 federal tax credit.  Moreover, thanks to the 3.5% down payment loan from FHA, loan there are tremendous opportunities enjoy the emotional and financial benefits of home ownership. The state of California has also kicked in a $10,000 New Construction Tax Credit, which is rapidly being consumed.  There is some money available from the City of LA under restricted provisions to help people become homeowners.

That is important news for all of us — especially if you are over 50 and have had a change of circumstance and are ready to venture back into the housing market.  If you are fortunate to live in the southern part of Los Angeles (she’s in Manhattan Beach), Becky gives a complimentary First Time Homebuyer Readiness Discussion every month to explain and prepare people to benefit from the current Buyers market.  Her next First Time Homebuyer Readiness Discussion is May 16. Space is very limited, so if you’d like to attend you must RSVP.  Her number is 1.310.303.3446.  You can check out her credentials at LinkedIn.

That was good-to-know thing #1. Cool thing #2 was that I met the owner of  THE Leopard Limo…a fully leopardized limosine.  The owner knew they needed something to make them stand out in the competitive LA market and so they transformed one of their limos into one of the coolest limos I’ve ever seen. 

Even better is that I got to check it out personally.  Enjoy the pics!

Leopard Limo exterior Janet in Leopard Limo!

And finally, on this Serendipitous day in LA,  my dad discovered a street named after our family in Champlain, NY.

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